Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa

Divergence, Determinants, and Consequences

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) recorded a remarkable economic performance in the first 15 years of the 21st century. Such an encouraging trend, which reversed the stagnation or decline of the prior 25 years, was accompanied by a perceptible, modest, but uneven decline in aggregate poverty, together with substantial cross-country variation in the poverty-reducing power of growth. This is reflected in, and partially driven by, the variation of inequality levels and trends among the African countries. Proper documentation of inequality levels and trends in the region therefore becomes essential in order to better understand the slow and varying rate of decline of poverty reduction in the region. To this end, this book, an outcome of a comprehensive study of income inequality in SSA, documents the initial conditions and changes in income inequality that have taken place in the region since the early 1990s. It proposes hypotheses to account for this experience and draws relevant lessons that could help accelerate reduction in income disparities.

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Inequality, gender and human development in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has witnessed impressive progress on human development over the past 25 years. Indeed, using the Human Development Index (HDI) as a measure of development, since 2000, SSA has experienced more rapid growth than any other region, growing at 1.68 per cent from 2000 to 2010 and 0.94 per cent from 2010 to 2014 (UNDP, 2015a). The rate of progress in some countries – for example, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mozambique – has been particularly remarkable.

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